Monday, 15 February 2010

Letter to Richmond & Twickenham Times on Quality Care Commission

26 January 2010

Dear Sir

All Richmond’s social care and health providers, statutory as well as voluntary, have to be registered with the Care Quality Commission by April 2010 - under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. Now a draft statutory instrument is ‘going through Parliament’ - or so the Primary Care Trust informs us in its Jan 19th Board agenda over 500 pages long - setting out 23 regulations in 259 pages, sub-divided into more than 40 outcomes (with ‘personal care’ heading the list).

This is micro-management run mad. Worse it is a legal requirement to register - and presumably to comply with the standards laid down - and failure to do so can result in an ‘unlimited fine or 12 months of prison.’ What is wrong with treating these standards as a ‘highway code’ rather than as a legal obligation, a gift to ambulance-chasing lawyers?

All is not lost however. Any statutory instrument can be halted in its tracks by Parliament - by MPs in significant numbers formally registering their objection - when matters are postponed for a later debate.

Vincent Cable, Twickenham’s MP, has already been urged to lodge such an objection - and it may have to be by the deadline date of this Friday (according to the Commons Information Office). For all his many qualities Vince calls himself a ‘parliamentary eunuch.’ Now he has the chance to demonstrate another of his claims, that he is a champion of ‘localisation’ - to which might be added democracy!

But a further question needs to be raised. The PCT has been helpful but how does the Council and its majority political party raise major issues such as these through its two MPs? Does it ever, and if so when? A similar question can be posed with the opposition party: after all they are Richmond’s MPs, representing all of us. And what about the voluntary sector - the CVS, LINk and its Key Strategic Organisations (such as CORLD), Council-funded so that it can speak with a stronger voice? These are interesting times, an election is not far off.

Yours faithfully

Francis King

East Twickenham


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